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KIEV: Andres Iniesta, who helped Spain to a second successive European Championship triumph in Poland and Ukraine, was named the best player at the tournament by Uefa yesterday.
Iniesta played a central role for Spain in Sunday’s 4-0 win over Italy as they became the first country to retain the title.
Andy Roxburgh, the head of Uefa’s technical group, said: “Andrea Pirlo was magnificent for Italy, Xavi Hernandez won it last time and could have won it again. Xabi Alonso was magnificent but Iniesta sends a message about creative and incisive football and was superb throughout.”
Spanish striker Fernando Torres won the Golden Boot award for top scorer at Euro 2012 edging out Germany’s Mario Gomez. The 28-year-old – whose goal in the 4-0 win over Italy in the final made him the only player to score in two Euro finals – like Gomez scored three goals and provided one assist during the tournament.
However, Uefa gave it to him on the tiebreak of having had less game time during the finals, the Spaniard having had 189 minutes on the pitch compared to Gomez’s 280.
Four other players also ended up with three goals, Italian striker Mario Balotelli, Portuguese captain Cristiano Ronaldo, rising Russian star Alan Dzagoev and one of the revelations of the tournament, Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic.
The UEFA squad of Euro 2012
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Iker Casillas (Spain), Manuel Neuer (Germany)
Defenders: Gerard Pique (Spain), Fabio Coentrao (Portugal), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Pepe (Portugal), Sergio Ramos (Spain), Jordi Alba (Spain)
Midfielders: Daniele De Rossi (Italy), Steven Gerrard (England), Xavi (Spain), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Sami Khedira (Germany), Sergio Busquets (Spain), Mesut Ozil (Germany), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Xabi Alonso (Spain)
Forwards: Mario Balotelli (Italy), Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Zlatan Ibrahimovoic (Sweden), David Silva (Spain) – Reuters/Sapa-AFP